Product liabilities present a legal issue for manufacturers who didn’t follow federal laws for protecting consumers. Dangerous products could become a serious problem for customers and the manufacturer. Federal laws require stringent inspections of all products according to the product design and how it is used. Testing should provide the manufacturers with enough information to determine if the product presents a risk to anyone using it. Victims of faulty products can sue the manufacturer if they sustain injuries while using the product correctly.
Table of Contents
- Federal Laws for Manufacturers
- Reporting the Product to the FTC
- Did the Product Have Warning Labels?
- Did the Consumer Follow the Packaging Instructions?
- Forensic Testing and Product Evaluations
- When A Product Recall is Issued
- What are the Economic Losses for the Victim?
- Class-Action Lawsuits Against a Manufacturer
Federal Laws for Manufacturers
The Bureau of Consumer Protection of the Federal Trade Commission provides protection for all consumers. All manufacturers must test their products and ensure those products are safe for consumers to use. The testing processes are stringent and must uncover any flaws and hazards. The manufacturers cannot release dangerous products without proper warning labels, explicit instructions that prevent accidents or injuries, and contact information for poison control if the product is a chemical. Any failures to keep consumers safe lead to penalties against the manufacturer and presents a liability for which a consumer can sue the manufacturer after an injury. Victims of product liabilities can find out more at Jacoby and Meyers now.
Reporting the Product to the FTC
Consumers report all dangerous products to the FTC after they sustain an injury. The report must explain exactly how the injuries happened and show medical evidence of the injuries. The federal agency needs documentation of why the product is dangerous. If the agency believes the product presents a hazard to customers, they launch an investigation of the product to find all instances in which an injury could happen.
Did the Product Have Warning Labels?
Warning labels are one of the first attributes reviewed when a dangerous product is reported. If the manufacturer didn’t affix warning labels on a dangerous product, they are liable for failing to provide a proper duty to consumers. The absence of warning labels indicates that either the manufacturer failed to test the product appropriately or they knew about the risk and choose not to warn consumers. The consumer must present the product with all its original packaging and warning labels when taking the product liability claim to court. The court must see that the manufacturer didn’t use warning labels properly, and this could prove the manufacturer’s liability.
Did the Consumer Follow the Packaging Instructions?
All products must provide consumers with explicit instructions for using the product. The instructions must prevent an injury and show the customer how to use the product correctly. When presenting a product liability case, the victim must show that they followed these instructions while using the product. If the individual deviated from the instructions, they could be held accountable for playing a role in their own injuries. Comparative fault rulings could be used to dismiss their claim, and the manufacturer won’t have to give the consumer any compensation.
Forensic Testing and Product Evaluations
Labs conduct forensic testing and product evaluations for the FTC and for the victim’s attorney. Ordering forensic testing helps prove the liability if the finding determine that the product is dangerous. However, the tests must show the injury occurred while using the product according to the instructions. The tests will also show any deviations from the instructions that could cause an injury. The technicians complete a full assessment to show every way the product could cause an injury. This could show that the manufacturer didn’t explain other issues that could lead to an injury. They use these findings in court to prove or disprove the victim’s claim against the manufacturer.
When A Product Recall is Issued
A product recall requires the manufacturer to remove all existing models of the product from stores and out of the hands of consumers. The manufacturer must give stores a refund for all items they purchased from the manufacturer to sell in their stores. Consumers may receive a full refund for the property, too. The recalls mitigate the risk of any further consumer-related accidents and injuries. If the FTC determines that a repair could prevent the injuries, the manufacturer must correct the issue with each model of the product. This includes allowing consumers to send the product to the manufacturer for these repairs. If repairs will not correct the problem, the recall informs all consumers about the hazard and demands they return the products to the manufacturer directly. Once a product is recalled, it cannot be sold to anyone.
What are the Economic Losses for the Victim?
Economic losses for the victim appear in the legal claim. These losses include all medical costs, lost wages, the cost of the product, any repair costs of the product, and any additional financial losses. If the victim’s injuries are irreversible or caused a disability, the court may consider losses of future earnings. If the product is recalled, the victim has the option to sue through an individual lawsuit or participate in a class-action lawsuit. Discussing their options with an attorney helps victims decide which choice is more effective.
Class-Action Lawsuits Against a Manufacturer
Class-action lawsuits against the manufacturer could start with arbitration and attempt to settle the matter out of court. However, an attorney must explain the rights of all claimants involved in the class-action case. Class-action cases divide the award among the individuals suing the manufacturer. The court decides how much of the money goes to each claimant according the severity of their injuries and how much they lost. However, if the claimants do not win the class-action case, they cannot file a separate lawsuit later.
The courts base product liabilities on dangerous products that cause injuries. With these cases, the claimants proclaim that the manufacturer was aware of the hazard and didn’t warn consumers with warning labels, product packaging, or explicit use instructions. When over one consumer is injured, the FTC can take action through their Bureau of Consumer Protection, and they can issue a product recall. Reviewing product liability laws and the responsibilities of all parties shows claimants what to do after an injury.